On Father’s Day
With Father’s Day coming up, our family, like many other families, has been reflecting on one of the best dads we’ve ever known – Drew.
I recently asked our kids, Mary and Robert, about their favorite memories of their dad and they remembered some things I hadn’t thought of in a while.
For example, as soon as the kids could walk we were taking them to the Illinois River and the Baron Fork for day trips and camping. Robert says Drew could always start a fire, in the woods or in a fireplace, and “…taught us that a few ashes on a hotdog would just add flavor.” Robert also remembered Drew has never lost interest in “…rising before dawn to savor the fresh country air of rural Oklahoma – and shoot birds.” I know those early days with our kids spent on the banks of the Illinois River influence Drew today; as he advocates for clean water, he does so with a sentimental nod to some of our best days with our children.
Robert also says he learned from his dad, “If you keep your boots polished, you can wear them with a suit.” And he adds, “Dad says always save your ties; at some point, they will be in style again.”
Both kids remember other skills he taught them, like how to use chopsticks, how play poker, and how to change a flat tire.
Mary says her dad makes the best on-top-of-the-stove popcorn in the world, and Robert and I agree with that. Popcorn and peanut butter sandwiches have always been a nutritious meal as far as he is concerned. Mary also remembers that Drew “…read The Hobbit to Robert and me when we were kids, bringing Bilbo Baggins and Gollum to life with his voice.” She is now reading that same book to her twins, Andrew and Catherine.
Drew is a fun grandfather to the twins. Since they were tiny he has been bringing old coins to them when we visit. Andrew and Catherine search his pockets, and sometimes the coins appear behind their ears by magic. He has taught them how to spin a silver dollar too. Drew has taken them both on in games of chess – at the same time! He told me recently he thought they would beat him soon, at least if it is two against one. Drew is a great tease and his favorite joke with Catherine is that her bunny really likes Drew best. Bunny can often be found in Drew’s pocket or hiding on his shoulder, but Catherine and I know Bunny has just been tricked into teaming up with Granddaddy.
Mary and Robert grew up in Muskogee while Drew was District Attorney. Robert remembers those years, “Dad made it easy to be related to a politician because even his enemies respected his integrity.” Mary pointed out he marched for women’s rights and has always fought for clean water. “He stands up for what’s right and fights the good fights,” she said.
Drew often speaks about building a state for our grandchildren. His vision for Oklahoma sees the long view, down the generations, far past November 2018. It’s true, I think, that a lot of people admire Drew, and I’m proud of that. He would tell you he is most proud of the admiration he has earned from his children and grandchildren. That’s true on Father’s Day, and every other day of the year, when we are lucky to call him ours.